The provincial government has announced a one-time grant to support volunteer groups and improve access to outdoor recreation in B.C.
The Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORCBC) will receive $10 million of government funding to go towards community-based groups that work to improve access to trails and recreation, deliver education programs on safe and responsible recreation, and organize events and trips for their members and the public.
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy announced the grant on May 1, adding that ‘growing interest in outdoor recreation has put a strain on the province’s recreation resources and that more needs to be done to assist volunteer-based outdoor groups’.
“This contribution couldn’t come at a more important time, and we are very thankful to the province for heeding our call for more support for B.C.’s outdoor recreation sector, which is largely powered by volunteers,” said Louise Pedersen, ORCBC Executive Director.
The ORCBC is an umbrella organization which brings together 70 outdoor recreation clubs and associations across the province.
“The new endowment fund will help address long-standing funding gaps and concerns related to volunteer capacity challenges in the outdoor recreation sector,” said the ORCBC in a press release. “Through an annual grant program, the fund will provide reliable and consistent funding for recreation projects for community-based volunteer clubs, Indigenous groups and local governments.”
The group plans to launch the Outdoor Recreation Fund of BC with the help of this contribution, a fund which will provide a way for individuals, governments, corporations and foundations to financially support outdoor recreation and its volunteers. The first grant application intake is expected to take place in spring 2024 according to the ORCBC.